Association of bullying victimization with overweight and obesity among adolescents from 41 low- and middle-income countries

Ai Koyanagi, Nicola Veronese, Davy Vancampfort, Andrew Stickley, Sarah E. Jackson, Hans Oh, Jae Il Shin, Josep Maria Haro, Brendon Stubbs, Lee Smith

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31 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Data on the association between overweight/obesity and bullying victimization among adolescents are scarce from low- and middle-income countries. Objectives: We assessed the associations between overweight/obesity and bullying victimization in 41 low- and middle-income countries. Methods: Cross-sectional data from the Global School-based Student Health Survey were analysed. Data on past 30-day bullying victimization (including type) and body mass index based on measured weight and height were collected. The 2007 WHO Child Growth reference was used to define overweight and obesity. Multivariable logistic regression (multinomial and binary) and meta-analyses based on country-wise estimates were conducted. Data on 114 240 adolescents aged 12 to 15 years were analysed (mean age [SD], 13.8 [1.0] y; 48.8% girls). Results: Among girls, compared with normal weight, overweight (OR = 1.08; 95% CI, 1.02-1.16; between-country heterogeneity I2 = 0.0%) and obesity (OR = 1.20; 95% CI, 1.07-1.34; I2 = 0.0%) were associated with significantly higher odds for any bullying victimization, but no significant association was observed among boys. However, overweight and obesity were both associated with significantly increased odds for bullying by being made fun of because of physical appearance among both sexes—obesity (vs normal weight): girls OR = 3.42 (95% CI, 2.49-4.71); boys OR = 2.38 (95% CI, 1.67-3.37). Conclusions: Effective strategies to reduce bullying of children with overweight/obesity are needed in low- and middle-income countries.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12571
JournalPediatric Obesity
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jan 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 World Obesity Federation

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Health Policy
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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